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Fairness and Security in Old Age

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:28 pm on 10th September 2003.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:28 pm, 10th September 2003

My hon. Friend raises an important point. Those who are hurt hardest by the council tax are not those who are on the lowest incomes, who may have their council tax met in full or in part, but those who have worked hard and saved hard, and have to face that tax burden in full. When one tax comes to represent 11 per cent. of someone's income, clearly something has gone very wrong.

Ms Keeble suggested that replacing the council tax with some form of local income tax would in some way be unfair to pensioners because that would mean getting rid of a property-based tax. Given that two thirds of pensioners pay no income tax at all, they would be the principal group of beneficiaries in a switch away from council tax to local income tax.